Thoughts After 16 Months of Blogging

I have just about completed my 16th month of blogging so I thought I would take a look at where I started, where I’ve been and where to go next.

Empty Branches was launched in January 2014 because it looked like our house wasn’t going to sell, we weren’t going to move and I would have lots of free time to set up and enhance my blog site. All that changed in early February when the last December buyers returned and wanted to make an offer, which eventually was accepted. That led to months of renting back, cleaning two houses, and moving a LOT of stuff in my car.

I didn’t really have the time or energy to write blog posts, so the blog sat, quite empty, on the back burner until the end of summer. How have I done since then?

I am more than pleased with my progress. Posts were much more frequent from the first of September and I don’t think I’ve missed more than a day or two of consecutive posts since early November.

My first honor was being nominated by Fran Ellsworth of Branching Out Through the Years. Thank you, Fran, for being an early reader of Empty Branches.

I volunteered to be an FGS blogger and was over the moon when my October 10th post, FGS 2015 – February 11-14 in Salt Lake City, was chosen as a winner by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

That was followed by Pat Richley-Erickson, aka Dear Myrtle, choosing my November 30 story Nammie’s Rocking Chair and How I Almost Lost It – as a winner in her December 2014 contest.

By then, I was doubly over the moon.

I have enjoyed every moment of my blogging experience. Why?

1. Being a retired K-8 teacher, my favorite subjects to teach were language arts and history. Not a surprise, I guess, for a genealogy blogger. I continue to learn new details of my ancestors’ lives as I write about them.

2. I am not a total tech dummy by an means, but I also don’t consider myself to be the most tech-savvy person around either. My husband, who is much more tech-savvy, pretty much left learning WordPress up to me. While messing around with code and customizing features is still beyond me, I have learned a lot about how to manage my site and get it to do what I want. It’s kept the brain cells working in a new way, which is always a good thing.

3. I never started this blog with the idea that it would be making any money. That was not my intent at all. I guess the retired (read = limited funds) teacher (read = likes sharing new information) genealogy addict wanted to share stories about how I found difficult-to-find ancestors and to tell their life stories so they would be remembered. I also wanted to share free or inexpensive resources available on line, resources which are multiplying like rabbits in the internet age. I think I’ve accomplished that.

4. Statistics – How am I doing? Well, I’m pleased here, too. The most visits I’ve had in one day is 374, after DearMyrtle announced that I was the 2nd place winner in her contest. I had the opportunity to meet Pat at FGS-RootsTech 2015 to thank her in person.

On a daily basis, site visits generally range from 50-125, which I think is good for a relatively new blog. However, I wish I could figure out the mystery of why some of the posts have markedly higher site visits than others. A few posts that I saw as easy fillers as I worked on others needing  much more research ended up with 200+ visits. I guess I chose popular filler topics.

5. I am participating in Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over, but of the Go-Over variety, which has allowed me to re-discover the wealth of information and photos that I have amassed over 35 years. I have found lots of photos and pieces of information that I had long forgotten, all of which have helped me as I tell the family stories. My Go-Over goal to scan all my items is right on track.

5. Last, but not least, I’ve made new friends, both online and in person through my blog. I treasure each new friendship.

My plans for the future – why, to keep on blogging, of course. I am having too much fun to stop now!

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